Block 671 on Jalan Damai in Singapore. Photo: Google Maps

A 53-year-old Singaporean woman was jailed for six weeks and ordered to pay S$3,500 (US$2,589) in compensation by a Singapore court on Thursday after pleading guilty to one count of assault against her 35-year-old Indonesian domestic worker.

The court heard the woman had committed sustained abuse against the maid for just over one month after she was employed in March last year.

Toh Ah Hoon, an administration manager, hired Tri Astuti last year and she worked for her at the home near Bedok Reservoir Road from February 1 until late March, primarily looking after Toh’s elderly mother-in-law, the Shin Min Daily News reported.

The first abuse was noted at about 6 pm on March 13, when Toh was unhappy with the way Tri used cling-wrap for the fish dish, and decided to do it herself. The employer deliberately cut the worker’s index finger using the sharp edge of the cling-wrap box, causing her to bleed profusely.

At 9 am on March 23, the employer threw three books at Tri, and hit her left thigh, after the maid had problems understanding the language.

Two days later, while the worker was busy cleaning the toilet, she did not hear Toh calling her and did not respond. However, Toh thought Tri was being rude and she threw a bucket in the worker’s face as punishment, which hit her right cheek.

The incident came into light when the victim later told another Indonesian worker she met on the deck of the block about her abusive employer. Her compatriot alerted the Centre for Domestic Employees and a staff member from the non-government organization met Tri at the deck on March 26, 2018.

She filed a case with police later that day and was taken to Changi General Hospital, where she was found to have bruises on her face and left thigh.

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